I use five products each morning when I put on my makeup. But to get to those five products, I have to rumble around in a drawer full of lipsticks, mascaras, eyeshadows and miracle lotions and potions.
The drawer is full of things I bought and then either didn’t use or didn’t use more than once or twice. But, because I paid for it, I don’t want to throw anything away.
In my linen closet there is a basket full of sample shampoos, lotions, soaps and other hotel-sized bottles picked up on my travels. Occasionally I’ll dip into the basket when someone goes to summer camp or we’re going to the beach, but whatever I take is always replenished by the next trip.
I’ve donated unused products to women’s missions and shelters before. But the products that had been opened just languished in the drawer.
Now, thanks to Project Beauty Share, slightly used makeup and other products can be put to good use again…
Project Beauty Share was created by Spokane makeup professional Julie Farley. Farley, who owns The Make-up Studio, has an extensive history and resume in the cosmetics industry, wanted to find a way to endow women who were homeless, rebuilding broken lives or seeking employment to have access to the products most women take for granted.
“The whole idea came from a conversation with a woman in the studio for a make-up lesson,” Farley told me. “She had things in her make-up she didn’t need or use and I told her she should just toss them.”
The woman, on the board of a local women’s shelter, told Farley how much need there was for just such products. (Food Stamps cannot be used to purchase toiletries.)
“A light bulb just went off in my head,” Farley said. “We started collecting makeup donations from other women who came in.”
It was an “Ah, ha!” moment. Farley recognized the importance of grooming products to a woman who is struggling.
“Makeup is medicine,” she said. “It makes you feel better about yourself.”
Now, Farley and her team of volunteers have filled a room in her downtown studio with makeup, lotions, shampoos and those little cosmetic bags given as promotional gifts by cosmetics companies.
Farley sanitizes the donations and then passes them along to all six women’s shelters in Spokane. The demand is rising.
“We’re going to need more volunteers,” Farley said. “But we are getting more help every day.” A local Girl Scout troop has just signed on to fill bags with toiletries.
Looking ahead, Farley sees the need to find a bigger space, hopefully in the Frucci building where her studio is located, to house Project Beauty Share.
“This is vital to women who are trying to get lives back on track, to find jobs and rebuild,” Farley said. “The things we make available to them give them back their dignity.”
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer living in Spokane. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org